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Victor’s high: More motivation, less tolerance

New Delhi, Dec. 23: Narendra Modi, fresh from an unlikely victory, is likely to experience an emotional zenith, an elevated sense of self-image, and a stronger-than-ever motivation towards his future goals, behavioural scientists said today.

A victory after an intense election campaign dogged by controversies could lead to an emotional high, a feeling beyond happiness, according to the psychologists whose comments are based on the likely impact of winning elections on a victor’s mind.

“This win is likely to reinforce his belief in his own actions,” said Alok Sinha, a behavioural psychologist and counsellor based in Lucknow. “For him, this is not just an (election) result, it’s likely to be seen as the people’s pronouncement on his actions,” Sinha added.

“In an election victory, the sense of elation occurs in different degrees in different people, but is likely to be higher among right-wing politicians,” said Rajat Mitra, a clinical psychologist based in New Delhi.

Experts believe that victories also allow individuals to attain a feeling of vindication. “Winning is like an addiction. It can lead to a euphoric high, but it could also reinforce a belief that all that one did was correct,” said Sandeep Vohra, a neuropsychiatrist at the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.

A victory and such vindication could translate into a stronger drive towards future goals that a person has in mind, the experts said. “This is likely to affect anyone — a politician, a sportsperson, a film actor or a chief executive officer,” Vohra said.

In an election, if a win was anticipated, the initial elation could quickly give way to intense pride. “You could expect to see stronger motivation for future tasks,” said Sinha.

But psychologists predict that an election victory could sometimes also prompt the winner to take a far harsher stand towards criticism than before.

“The feeling of righteousness could in some cases push an election victor towards less tolerance for criticism and less tolerance for even differences of opinion,” said Mitra, who has worked with children affected by the Gujarat riots of 2002.

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